Nursing is one of many health professions that requires a license as a condition of practicing to protect the public from harm and to ensure the public that the nurse has met the predetermined standards. The State Board of Nursing issues licenses to practice nursing, establishes the standards for safe nursing care, and acts against the licenses of those nurses who have exhibited unsafe nursing practice. An individual nurse is responsible for obtaining and maintaining nursing licensure, as well as complying with the licensure laws and regulations.
What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/LVNs) to have one multistate license with the ability to practice physically, telephonically, or electronically in any of the member states without having to obtain a new license in each state. This reduces the burdensome, costly, and time-consuming process of obtaining single state licenses in each state of practice. There is no difference between the term “compact license” and “multistate license.” They are used interchangeably to refer to the NLC.
Earlier this year, the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators established an updated version of the NLC and set Friday, January 19, 2018, as the implementation date for the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). Nurses who currently have a NLC will need to ensure that their state of practice is still a part of the new eNLC. Nurses who are residing in an original NLC state that enacted the eNLC are “grandfathered” into the eNLC if they held a multistate license on July 20, 2017.
If a nurse’s state of practice is no longer a part of the eNLC, they will need to obtain a single state license in order to continue practicing in the state. New nurses who receive their first license in an eNLC state will be able to practice in all the eNLC states. The current eNLC states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
To qualify for a multistate license, nurses must be a resident of an eNLC state and meet the uniform licensure requirements established by the Commission of the eNLC, including:
- Meets the requirements for licensure in their state of residency
- Has graduated from a board-approved education program OR from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency)
- Has passed an English proficiency exam (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught English or if English is not the individual’s native language)
- Has passed an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Examination or recognized predecessor, as applicable
- Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license
- Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks
- Has no state or federal felony convictions
- Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing
- Is not currently enrolled in an alternative program
- Is subject to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program
- Has a valid United States Social Security number
“The eNLC not only benefits nurses with increased mobility to practice, it also increases access to care for patients. Additionally, new provisions in the eNLC enhance patient safety,” says Sue Tedford, MNSc, APRN, RN, executive director of the Arkansas State Board of Nursing and Chair of the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators.
For more information about the eNLC, visit www.ncsbn.org.
There is a growing demand for more nurses in general and that the demand for male nurses is currently on the rise. Male nurses are increasing their presence at the bedside, hospital, clinic, and nursing home. The American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN) profiles the progress of its campaign for a 20% increase in the number of male nurses in the workforce by 2020. We all know that the nursing profession would benefit from a more diverse representation of gender, age, and cultures within the workforce.
Male nurses are bringing balance to the profession, which benefits patients as a whole. Having male nurses ensures that male patients are well cared and represented. Sometimes patients prefer a nurse of a certain sex, particularly for procedures like inserting a catheter, serving a bedpan, or administering EKG. Male nurses have skills and care-giving strengths that can make nursing an excellent career for them. Importantly, the benefits of being a male nurse are the same benefits of being a nurse.
If you are male and thinking about becoming a nurse, don’t hesitate to explore the career and most importantly look into yourself to ensure that this is the right career for you. Nursing is a challenging job and one that requires hard work, integrity, and dedication. Nurses can treat every patient regardless of gender, but dealing with human sickness and patients who may be crabby and cranky is simply a fact of life for nurses. As nurse, you are able to help patients and give them a level of comfort and put them at ease. The world of nursing holds many possibilities. There are over 100 different nursing specialties available and there are plenty of ways to advance your career if you are willing to work hard. Since not everyone has what it takes to be a nurse, there are a lot of considerations when it comes to nursing and what your personality needs to be like in order to be a good nurse.
Here are four key questions to ask yourself.
1. How well do you cope with stress and emergency situations?
Nursing jobs can be stressful at times. If you are someone who can work well under pressure and copes well with stress, you will do well as a nurse.
2. Are you easily offended?
Nurses sometimes come in contact with patients who are hostile or unfriendly. Being easily offended can make your nursing job difficult and stressful quickly.
3. Do you consider yourself to never stop learning?
The field of health care is continuously changing, whether it is a new disease or recently discovered new treatment, nurses learn something new every day. Therefore, a good nurse is always ready to learn more.
4. Are you a team player?
Teamwork is essential in nursing to getting the job done right and improving the patient’s health. Nurses, who enjoy their job, work well with other team members.
Effective communication is one of the foundations of good nursing care. The honest forms of nurse-patient communication include verbal and non-verbal communication (e.g., body language, facial expression, gestures, and distance between you and your patients). Effective nurse-patient communication can improve quality of care, clinical outcomes, and a nurse-patient relationship that enhances patient satisfaction. However, effective nurse-patient communication is the biggest challenge for nurses and requires much more than experience and skills.
Here are 3 principles you should follow to help you improve your communication skills with patients.
1. Always put the patients first.
Putting patients first takes a shift of mind. Start your conversation with the patients by taking the time to introduce yourself and tell them how you are going to take care of them. Smile and use a calm and welcoming voice. Provide comfort when they need to be comforted. Always show respect to your patients. Understanding who the patients are as individuals will help the nurse connect with them and will make the patients feel more comfortable while receiving care and treatment. These approaches can make the patients feel really cared for and can improve relationships.
2. Practice active listening.
Active listening is an important part of communication and requires listening for the content, intent, and feeling of the speaker. Active listening involves paying attention to what the patients say and allowing them to finish without judgement and interruption. Paraphrasing or echoing back to them what they have just said, and maintaining eye contact are also key elements of active listening. Lastly, pay attention to their non-verbal clues, such as facial expression, gestures, and eye contact. These skills can improve patient satisfaction and build trust over time.
3. Talk with heart.
Communicating with patients requires ample time. Honesty and frankness are important parts of effective communication between nurses and patients. To achieve effective nurse-patient communication, nurses need to have a sincere intention to understand what concerns their patients have and show them their kindness and courtesy. Acknowledge the patients’ attitudes and tune into their feelings. Always ask patients open-ended questions, speak slowly, and use simpler, non-medical language. If the patient has difficulty understanding the information, you need to clarify or modify the information or instructions until the patient gets it. You may consider using written materials such as handouts, notes, or pictures to demonstrate what you are saying.
The Patient Self-Determination Act, passed by Congress in 1991, requires hospitals, nursing homes, and other health facilities to provide information about advance directives to patients and to keep a record of any completed documents. An advance directive is a legal document outlining a patient’s preferences for treatment at the end of life. It allows patients to name a person (“agent”) to decide for them if they are unable to decide. As the population of older Americans is increasing, one in five Americans will be over age 65 by 2030 and a life-threatening situation such as cardiac or respiratory arrest can occur at any time. Nurses need to take an active role in educating patients about the different types of advance directives and must talk with their patients and families in terms of their goals of care and preferences for end-of-life care to ensure that patients’ wishes for care at the end of life are known and respected.
Here are three tips to help you integrate them into your daily practice.
1. Review and verify the patient’s advance directive status at his or her first patient contact.
Nurses can help patients explore treatment options and prepare them to participate and discuss with physicians in making the best possible option based on their preferences.
2. Assess the patient’s educational needs.
Patients must be provided with complete information about advance directives and have the opportunity to discuss all of their alternatives and options. Having sufficient knowledge will enable patients to make sound and knowledgeable decisions about their own advance directives. Their education should also include the benefits and risks associated with their choices. It is important for nurses to understand their workplace policy and procedures about advance directives and take any available education about advance directives to increase their knowledge.
3. Advocate for your patients’ decision representing what is best for them.
Nurses have an important role to promote their patients’ decision concerning the treatment or withdrawal of medical care and completion of advance directives. Understanding the options available to the patient can help nurses confidently and purposefully address their patients’ needs. It is imperative that nurses are knowledgeable about their state and federal laws related to end-of-life care and are able to answer the patient’s questions concerning different types of advance directives.
There is an increasing demand for new nurse leaders because of a growing number of retiring nurses and a complex health care delivery system. This high demand for nurse leaders brings an opportunity for young nurses to move up to a leadership role; however, the transition from staff nurse to nurse leader involves developing a wide range of skills. Here are four essential skills that every nurse needs to ensure a smooth transition into a leadership role.
1. Effective communication
It is important that you improve your communication, both verbal and non-verbal, as well as your listening skills. A great nurse leader needs to clearly communicate his or her ideas, visions, goals, and expectations to staff nurses and others as well as understand what other people are communicating.
2. Critical thinking
A great nurse leader needs to be able to think objectively and critically as well as utilize critical thinking ability at every level. Critical thinking is utmost to a leader’s success, especially in today’s complex health care environment. Having an optimistic attitude is also important as this will help to motivate other staff nurses in a positive way.
3. Time management
A great nurse leader needs to effectively manage time and fulfill his or her tasks and obligations. As a nurse leader, you cannot avoid the added responsibilities and demands, but without time management skills, it will be difficult to transition into your leadership role.
4. Conflict management
A great nurse leader needs to properly manage conflicts in the workplace. You should have the ability to recognize and address problems quickly. Stress disappears, staff feels more motivated, and the workplace becomes a much better place to work as a result of conflict management.
To become a great nurse leader, continually strive to improve these four essential skills and never stop learning.